Temptation sucks. Every time I think I’m doing okay, there it is to tempt me yet again. I cannot tell you how many times I have finished serving in ministry or reading Scripture or telling someone about the good news of the gospel, only to find myself minutes later giving in to temptation. In fact, sometimes I feel like the more I preach, the more I talk about Jesus, the more I try to live out this story, the greater the temptation is to throw myself down from the highest point of the Temple. It’s exactly what Paul the Apostle was getting at in Romans 7, “So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.”
Sitting in the “Men & Temptation” presentation by Pastor Leonce Crump was both liberating and frustrating. It was liberating in the sense that he gave me spiritual eyes with which to see the sin problem. It was frustrating in that those eyes allow me to see the depths of depravity to which I have sunken from time to time.
TCM Founder C. E’Jon Moore sits down with Pastor Leonce Crump to discuss the content of his sermon delivered during the Man Up 2012 Conference in Atlanta, GA.
(We apologize for the poor lighting.)
In fact, during my interview with Pastor Crump, I made the comment that “Paul is light years ahead of me,” because Paul talks about wanting to do good and not doing it and not wanting to do bad, but finding himself doing bad things. I got a little honest, though. I don’t want to do good. I want to do bad. I don’t want to go serve the homeless. I want to have sex with my girlfriend because it’ll feel good in the moment. I don’t want to put money in the offering. I want to hit up Taco Bell after the service is over. I don’t want to get up and go to church on Sunday morning. I want to go out to the club on Saturday night. Paul and I are very different in that way. Being aware of this fact makes it all the more difficult for me to know that I am a Christian and I think this way.
Crump didn’t attempt to put me on blast or anything, but he did call into question the genuineness of someone’s faith if they claim Christ but are complacent about the sin they find themselves in or if they claim Christ but choose to manage their sin. While I wouldn’t call my faith into question, it does give me food for thought. I’m aware of my depravity because of the conviction of the Holy Spirit in my life, so I am open to challenge and know when I need to repent yet again of my own stupidity.
Something conspicuously missing in the life of many men, especially in the urban context, are mentors. It seems like old wizened men speaking into the lives of young precocious boys is a thing of the past or the stuff of Hollywood movies. I don’t believe for a second that the presence of a mentor in my life would somehow magically free me from the sin problem. But, I do wonder how different my life and thinking and faith might be if someone who has walked theirs out already were to come alongside me and speak truth into my life. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but the more I read scripture, the more I see value in “old life on young life” mentoring relationships. Maybe its time for me to find someone who has the time and space to invite me into their life.